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How many times have you heard someone say this?  They tell you about an amazing idea that they have and you can see the possibilities.  You start talking about it with them, just spitballing.  You look at your watch and a few hours have passed and that initial idea has been shaped and molded into something entirely new and just as exciting.

But what happens next?

All too often, great and revolutionary ideas never come to fruition.  There could be any number of reasons for this but often you’ll hear that life intervened or that they just had absolutely no knowledge or means to move the idea forward.

Well, this is what Startup Weekend is all about.  It’s about providing a venue for people with ideas to explore the potential of their ideas in a vibrant and unselfishly collaborative environment.  People who attend the weekend all share one thing in common – they love to explore new ideas and new possibilities.

And attendees come from all walks of life.  Some are serial entrepreneurs with an established track record for success.  Some just love the energy of the weekend and give freely of their time and expertise.  Some are looking for a new project to pursue. Some just come with an idea, not knowing what to expect.

During the inaugural 2012 Lehigh Valley Startup Weekend, the winning team was headed up by a woman with a vision for making technology in the classroom more efficient and relevant.  She just came with the idea.  She was an educator who identified a problem and wanted to do something about it.  She had no idea what to expect but she pitched her idea to the room on the first night of the weekend.  Her idea lit the imaginative fires of a few software developers and business professionals, passionate about her idea and eager to explore its potential.

They worked tirelessly for the remainder of the weekend, collaborating smoothly and picking the brains of the coaches in attendance.  By the end of the weekend, they had successfully built the proof of concept for an application that would allow for streamlined communication between teacher and student, facilitating more timely feedback on tests and homework assignments.

That woman with the idea was Rita Chesterton, co-founder of Skaffl, a startup regarded as one of the top education ventures in the country.  Since winning Lehigh Valley Startup Weeknd, Skaffl has gone on to become a Ben Franklin Technology PArtners Company, a 2013 TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco Battlefield Contender, and joined the LearnLaunchX Winter 2014 Accelerator Program. (For more info on Skaffl, click HERE.)

Rita’s experience at Startup Weekend exemplifies the spirit of the event.  It demonstrates just how important it is to present your ideas to the world with the hope of finding motivated people to travel with on a journey of discovery.  Rita came into the weekend with an idea and left with a winning concept, dedicated team, and the support of a community behind her.

And it all started here.  In the Lehigh Valley.  At Startup Weekend.

With the words, “So I have this idea…”


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Max Harris